By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead
What a turbulent few years we have lived through. Life, it seems, has thrown everything at us and is now at the end of an era.
Torbay Community Development Trust would like to share its deepest condolences with the entire Royal Family after the very sad news that Her Majesty The Queen has died.
“Her Majesty was a towering figure in the life of our nation throughout her long reign and was loved, respected and admired. For us at Ageing Well Torbay in particular, and for many older people, she was simply inspirational. We will miss her hugely.” said Tracey Cabache, director of TCDT.
Royalist or not, the death of Her Majesty is a significant milestone for us all. In the past few years, we have all experienced enormous change in our lives. The Queen was a constant through COVID, the war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, and immense political upheaval.
Respect requires a period of mourning up to and including the funeral on Monday, September 19th, but at the same time, life must go on, and with that in mind, and following discussions with partners across the Bay, we have decided to go ahead with the Ageing Well Festival at the Riviera Centre in Torquay on Saturday.
It was not a decision taken lightly, and changes have been made to the programme to allow people to come together to remember Her Majesty and celebrate her life in whatever way they choose.
Throughout her reign, wherever The Queen went, it meant communities would come together to greet her and for a lucky few, to meet her and with that in mind, the festival organising committee decided to press ahead.
What better way to celebrate a life well lived than with an Ageing Well festival?
We will be working closely with churches in the Bay and Torbay Council; there will be tributes throughout the day and a Book of Condolence will be available to sign for those who wish to.
There will be music from a church singing group alongside the Salvation Army Band on the main stage and there will be a time for reflection and prayer in whatever way suits you.
There will be a quiet room set aside for people to ponder their memories of The Queen down the years and we will be setting up a wall where those reminiscences can be shared.
It means that we are not quite going out with the bang that we expected, but we need to keep that in perspective – celebrating Her Majesty’s life with respect and reflection whilst looking back over joyous recollections of the seven-year-long Ageing Well Torbay project.
It is a balancing act and one that we hope we have got right, so there will still be something for everyone between the hours of 10am to 5pm.
The main stage will come alive with the Old Gaffers Shanty Crew at 10.45 before our host and compere Sandy Sparkle performs a range of vintage songs. She will then hand over to Vivien and Barrie West, better known as Twogetherness with songs by the likes of Dusty Springfield and Neil Diamond as well as a show song or two.
There will be the opportunity to shake your funky stuff with a dance party hosted by Clare Parker, who will then pass the baton to the Torquay Rock Choir who promise to raise the rafters with around 100 enthusiastic voices.
At 3pm we will be slowing the tempo with a service of commemoration for Her Majesty that promises to be both solemn and celebratory – a chance for everyone to reflect and give thanks for an incredible life of service.
Elsewhere it will be business as usual. There will be lots of opportunities to try new things, whether tai chi, yoga or a whole host of other exercises and we have also lined up an array of the Bay’s best public speakers.
Ageing Well Torbay may be no more, but the community building team are going from strength to strength and they have now expanded their work to include all ages and all of them will be on hand with displays featuring their work.
Come and join us, and not only will you have the chance to celebrate the best of the talent the Bay has to offer, but you will also have the opportunity to commemorate the life of Her Majesty who showed us all how to age well.